Brief history of the Black Nazarene and Quiapo Church

by: Myrna Cacho

Translated from published articles:
The Black Nazarene: His Devotees, 1979 by Rev. Francisco S. Gianan
Maikling Kasaysayan ng Simbahan ng Quiapo at ng Kaniyang Mapaghimalang Larawan: Jesus Nazareno, 1937 by Rev. Dr. Vicente Catapang
Brief History of the Black Nazarene and Quiapo Church by Rev. Francisco Gianan
Souvenir Program 1983, History of Quiapo Church by Rev. Leonard Agcaoili


The celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the image of the Black Nazarene in Manila.


The Traslacion or the observance of the journey of the Black Nazarene’s image from Bagumbayan (Luneta) to Quiapo Church started during this year’s celebration of the Black Nazarene’s Fiesta.


The expansion of the church was initiated by Msgr. Jose Abriol to accommodate the growing population of the devotees. The project was under the supervision of Architect Jose Ma. Zaragoza and Engr. Eduardo Santiago.


In September 28, 1987, His Eminence, Jaime Cardinal Sin blessed the newly remodeled church and sought recognition of the church as a Basilica.

In December 11, 1987, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II granted the recognition of Quiapo Church as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene because of its role in strengthening a deep popular devotion to Jesus Christ and its cultural contribution to the religiosity of the Filipino people.


In 1989, through the generosity of the people of Quiapo and Devotees of the Nazareno, five bronze bells and three electronic clocks were acquired from Holland.


Huge fire burned down the church.


Fr. Magdaleno Castillo started the reconstruction of the church. The famous architect and National Artist, Don Juan Nakpil designed and supervised the construction with the helped of Doña Encarnacion Orense in raising funds for the project.


Quiapo Church survived the ravage of World War II bombings. The image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo) sought refuge in Quiapo in the midst of the war.


A strong earthquake heavily damaged Quiapo Church in the same way it did to the Manila Cathedral, but the image of the Black Nazarene was spared.


Reconstruction to rebuild Quiapo Church was started by Fr. Eusebio de Leon. It was completed in 1898 under the supervision of Fr. Manuel Roxas.


During the 19th century, Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno was blessed Pope Pius VII and since then, the Nazarene was towered above the high altar of the Quiapo Church.


In April 20, 1650, the strong devotion to the Black Nazarene was recognized by Pope Innocent X, 29 years from its founding date.


Upon the order of the Archbishop of Manila, Basilio Sancho de Santas Justa y Rufina, the image of the Black Nazarene was transferred to Quiapo Church with St. John de Baptist as patron. Devotion to the Black Nazarene continued to grow and accounts of His miracles became well known throughout the archipelago.


A huge fire burned Quiapo Church, but miraculously the image of the Black Nazarene was not destroyed.


A second bigger church was built by the Recoletos in Intramuros with St. Nicolas Tolentino as patron saint. The image of the Black Nazarene was transferred to this church at devotion to Him grew.


The devotion to the Black Nazarene began establishing the Cofradia de Jesus Nazareno, a fraternity of respected gentlemen in Manila with strong devotion to the Black Nazarene.


A strong earthquake damaged Quiapo Church.


The mission outpost of the Franciscans from Sta. Ana de Sapa became a town by the decree of Governor General Santiago de Vera. Two years later, it became a parish with Fr. Antonio de Nombella became the first pastor of Quiapo Church.


The church made of nipa and bamboo was easily gutted by fire at the height of the Chinese rebellion.


The statue, entrusted to an unknown Recollect priest, was brought across the Pacific Ocean in the hold of a Galleon which arrived in Manila at an undetermined date. They brought with them a dark image of Jesus Christ, upright but kneeling on one knee and carrying a large wooden cross from Mexico. The dark portrayal of Christ reflected the native culture of its Mexican sculpture. The image was enshrined in the first church of the Recoletos at Bagumbayan (Luneta) with St. John the Baptist as patron. The image became known as the Black Nazarene.